Most Popular Sports In The UK


The Sporting Pulse of England: Most Popular Activities from 2021 to 2022

Sport has always been an integral part of English culture, and the varied sporting activities undertaken by its residents reflect its diversity and passion. Sport England’s latest survey gives a detailed breakdown of the sports and their popularity. Here’s a detailed look at the findings:

Running: Leading the pack with approximately 5.9 million participants, running is undeniably the most popular sport in England. The ease of entry, minimal equipment needs, and the flexibility of the sport make it a favorite among many.

Fitness class: With around 5.8 million participants, fitness classes are also incredibly popular. These sessions range from yoga and pilates to high-intensity workouts, catering to a wide variety of fitness enthusiasts.

Gym session: The traditional gym session stands strong with about 4.8 million people making their way to gyms, sweating it out on treadmills, lifting weights, and focusing on their fitness goals.

Exercise machines: Specifically focusing on machines like ellipticals, rowers, and stationary bikes, approximately 3.8 million people prefer these structured workouts.

Swimming: A timeless sport and leisure activity, swimming attracted around 3.8 million participants, making it a top choice for many.

Hill and mountain walking: The beauty of the English countryside is best explored on foot, with 3.6 million individuals taking to the hills and mountains, enjoying both the physical exercise and scenic beauty.

Weights session: Around 2.6 million individuals preferred focused weight sessions, using free weights, kettlebells, and weight machines.

Interval sessions: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and similar workouts have garnered the attention of 2.2 million participants, known for their efficiency and effectiveness.

Running 5,896,800
Fitness Class 5,779,400
Gym Session 4,842,600
Exercise Machines 3,801,100
Swimming 3,795,600
Hill and Mountain Walking 3,582,800
Weights Session 2,602,700
Internal Sessions 2,178,700
Football 2,012,300
Generic Fitness Training 1,865,200
Active Play 1,082,200
Golf 1,035,700
Tennis 915,000
Badminton 733,200
Boxing (including fitness classes) 593,900

Football: Football, the national sport, saw 2 million enthusiasts actively playing the game at least twice a month.

Generic fitness training: Around 1.9 million people engaged in diverse fitness routines without confining themselves to a specific category.

Active Play: This fun category, which includes various outdoor games and activities, attracted 1.1 million participants.

Golf: The calm and focus-driven sport of golf was the choice for over 1 million individuals.

Tennis: The court game of tennis engaged 915,000 participants, showcasing its continued popularity.

Badminton: The indoor racket sport drew in around 733,000 enthusiasts.

Boxing (includes boxing fitness classes): Combining traditional boxing and fitness-centric boxing classes, this category saw a participation of about 594,000 individuals.

In conclusion, the diversity in sports preference in England is evident. Whether it's the allure of open tracks, the serenity of swimming, or the competitive spirit of football, the English have a sport for every mood and interest.

Reference: Sport England. (April 20, 2023). Number of people participating in sport twice a month in England between November 2021 and November 2022, by sport (in 1,000) [Graph]. From